"So Boaz took Ruth into his home, and she became his wife." Ruth 4:13a
We have arrived at the end of The Book of Loving Kindness! And it is loving-kindness that remains the focus.
For many of us our wedding day is one we dream of, make plans for long before we've found that special someone, and spend lots of time & money on once the wedding proposal has been made. Not so for dear Ruth. In chapter 11 (Ruth 4:9), Boaz stands in the town square and tells everyone that he has bought property from Naomi and acquired Ruth in the deal! Wow! That sure does make a girl feel loved! Not quite a YouTube worthy proposal! And the wedding isn't much to speak of either; literally it's hardly spoken of in Scripture, "So Boaz took Ruth into his home, and she became his wife." Ruth 4:13a. We get more details about their rendezvous on the threshing floor than their nuptials. That's human nature for you!
Thank goodness we know Boaz's heart & love for Ruth is more than just part of a real estate deal. In chapter 11 we know that he has redeemed Ruth. Chapter 12 holds more redemption! The redemption of Naomi! This woman has had a difficult life, but she has never lost hope. Finally we see her precious reward and redemption - through the birth of a baby boy! Sound familiar? I found myself cheering for Naomi as she comes full circle, taking center stage once more.
From the beginning, I thought this book was more about Naomi than Ruth. I suppose it depends on what your focus is or where you are in life. While Ruth & Boaz may play the hero roles, the princess & prince of our fairy tale, it is Naomi with whom I can identify. We see her brokenness, her struggles, her hope mingled with her despair. She lashes out and we nod our heads in understanding. She is bold, daring, & faithful. While Ruth and Boaz are people to hold in high esteem, to strive to emulate in their hesed, their loyalty, love, & selflessness, it is hard for me to identify with them. They make it look so easy. Naomi, however, is a character that speaks to me. And one that modern society has embraced. The flawed hero, the broken soul who strives for redemption, the person doing good in order to make amends for their previous bad deeds. The lesson Naomi teaches us through her story is that, no matter what we do, we cannot redeemer ourselves. That is for God alone!
Now that our tale is told, with whom do you identify? Why? What lesson(s) can you take into your life? I am excited to hear what you think about the Book of Ruth! Leave your thoughts in the Comment section. Remember, if you're reading this in your e-mail, click here to go to the website and leave your comments.
Our next study will be Daniel: Spiritual Living in a Secular World by Douglas Connelly, A LifeGuide Bible Study from InterVarsity Press. The study of Daniel will begin January 15th and conclude April 22nd. With days off for Good Friday (March 25) and Spring Break (April 8).
Your Partner in Ministry,
"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body." Proverbs 16:24